Re:Create Recap January 16, 2020

Save The Date: Copyright Week 2020: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will host its annual Copyright Week celebration January 20-24. Focusing on the themes of fair use and creativity, copyright and competition, remedies, the public domain and copyright and democracy, the focused week is an opportunity to comment and engage with others about the need for balanced and fair copyright laws.

Tech Industry Rallies Together In First Round of SCOTUS Briefs. Citing the importance of fostering innovation, a range of large and small tech companies, consumer groups and developers, including IBM and Microsoft, filed amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court this week in support of Google’s ongoing copyright legal dispute with Oracle. An analysis of the briefs by Axios highlights the “league of software defenders” among the 26 amicus briefs filed in support of Google which largely cite the importance of openly available interfaces in driving innovation.

CCIA Urges Supreme Court To Preserve Principle Of Interoperability. In its amicus brief in support of Google in the decades-long legal battle with Oracle, the Computer & Communications Industry Association urges the Supreme Court to preserve the principle of interoperability that has been key to innovation and economic success, including Oracle’s. In a statement accompanying the brief, CCIA President Matt Schruers said: “It would be unfortunate for the U.S. to erode this framework for permissionless innovation, and give an advantage to companies in countries with more enabling legal frameworks.”

Re:Create Members Tell USPTO They Support Existing Copyright Laws For AI. In response to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s request for public comment on the “the impact of artificial intelligence (“AI”) technologies on intellectual property law and policy,” several Re:Create members submitted comments in support of the current copyright framework. Citing concerns that changes to current law could burden startups, Engine cautioned in its filing: “Before making any changes to this framework, policymakers should carefully consider how any changes would impact the current trajectory of ubiquitous, varied, and exciting AI technologies. And policymakers should avoid making any changes that might hamper innovation.”

New Year, New Works Enter The Public Domain…Decades Too Late. As another trove of works entered the public domain on New Year’s Day 2020, including George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” Los Angeles Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik wrote the event is also a cause for mourning. Hiltzik reminded readers that these works could have entered the public domain in the 1960’s if not for “an aggressive campaign staged in Washington by big media companies, especially Walt Disney Co., desperate to keep lucrative control of their copyrighted works for as long as possible.” His review of the 1998 law that restricts access to these works concludes on a positive note by teasing the works that will enter the public domain in 2021, which include “The Great Gatsby” and works by Edith Wharton and Ernest Hemingway.